Telford spared: SIT given one year of funding

Chris Hipkins.
Chris Hipkins.
Telford is safe, at least for a year.

In a statement this afternoon Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Government agreed to a proposal from the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) to take over the South Otago campus of the Taratahi Agricultural Centre.

The agreement was for one year of funding.

Taratahi, which ran the training campus near Balclutha, was placed in interim liquidation at the request of its board in December.

The Government will invest $1.8 million in SIT to deliver training programmes both at the campus and through distance learning.

It was a great outcome for continuing and new students, Mr Hipkins said.

“I’m very pleased that the majority of Telford staff – that’s around 20 equivalent fulltime staff – will be employed by SIT, with their existing rights and benefits maintained."

Hamish Walker
Hamish Walker
The Government would work to improve vocational education and training so it met New Zealand’s future needs, he said.

"We’ve chosen to continue to invest at the Telford site while the longer-term change is being considered as SIT is a strong institution with solid financial backing. There is no similar proposal for Taratahi at this stage."

SIT is aiming to teach 200 primary industry students in 2019 at the Telford campus and across New Zealand.

National Clutha-Southland MP Hamish walker said in a statement he was "thrilled" Telford would continue for 12 months, securing a future for staff and students.

However, the Government rejected a long-term proposal from SIT last week, he said.

“This one-year agreement to keep Telford open is a starting point and I’m glad Telford has a future. Telford’s proud history will continue, we just have to hope the officials see sense, and this is for longer than 12 months.”

The Government said SIT would receive further Crown support for expenses if operations ceased at Telford at the end of 2019.

Neither release said when the campus would open.

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